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A new pygmy seahorse that's roughly the size of a grain of rice and looks as if it is 'wearing paisley' has been discovered in southeastern Japan.
Dubbed 'Japan pig', the miniature creature measures just 15 millimetres in length and lives inside seaweed, soft coral and algae reefs.
Researchers - Animal - Name - Hippocampus - Japapigu
Researchers have described the newly-discovered animal, whose Latin name is Hippocampus japapigu, as looking like a normal seahorse dressed up in paisley.
Japan pig is one of only seven known species of pygmy seahorses.
Seahorses - Divers - Years - Scientists - 'Japan
Although smaller seahorses have been spotted by divers for years, it wasn't until scientists studied the 'Japan pig' they realised it had never been described before.
The vibrant marine creature was found around 178 miles (287 kilometres) south of Tokyo at Hachijo-jima Island by researchers at Texas A&M University.
Pigs - Coral - Algae - Reefs - Metres
'Japan pigs' are found in soft coral and algae reefs, between five to 22 metres (16 feet to 70 feet) beneath the surface.
'It's like a seahorse wearing a paisley pattern,' Kevin Conway, associate professor and curator of fishes at Texas A&M University described to National Geographic.
Japan - Pig - Species - Pygmy - Seahorses
The Japan pig is one of around seven known species of pygmy seahorses.
It is not essentially rare, but its size makes the species difficult to spot, scientists say.
Seahorses - Pygmy - Species - Trade - Medicine
Unlike larger seahorses, the pygmy species have not been caught up in the trade for traditional Chinese medicine or aquariums.
Most pygmy species have two wing-like structures on their back but the Japan...
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